Daler Rowney Simply Acrylic Review: Why I Don’t Recommend It

Last Updated on March 21, 2024 by Masha Eretnova

Daler Rowney Simply Acrylic Paint is a budget-friendly line of acrylic paints that are designed for beginners and students, but is it a good paint set for $11?

I have been painting with acrylics for the last 4 years and I tried Daler Rowney Simply acrylic paints. Let me share my thoughts with you on why I don’t recommend them.

daler rowney acrylic paint review simply set

Crafters generally find Daler Rowney Simply Acrylic Paint to be a good value for the price. The paint is affordable, I’d say cheap, but still provides decent quality and nice colors – what reviews said. I wanted to test it myself.

In my opinion, I would only recommend Daler Rowney Simply Acrylic Paint for kids and hobbyists or anyone looking for an affordable option for their personal painting projects and crafts without big ambitions in painting.

For the price and comparable quality (average), I think Simply Acrylic is close to Reeves acrylic paint.

daler rowney acrylic paint review simply set
The set I got for testing

I’ve used dozens of different paints and mediums and unfortunately, I would not recommend Simply acrylic paint set for someone who truly wants to learn painting.

It is a very basic set for hobbies, kids’ paintings, and crafts without the use of any acrylic painting technique or trick.

Craft Quality

Daler Rowney has its system of products:

  • Graduate and Simply Line for amateur and hobby, super cheap,
  • System 3 is for beginners and more advanced artists. System3 heavy-body acrylics are artist-grade paints (excellent coverage, highest quality from the brand).

For my review, I have a set of Simply acrylic paint with 12 colors. So while I was disappointed it is kinda of what they are supposed to be – I should not have expected Liquitex or Golden-like quality.

Daler Rowney Simply Acrylic Paint Set – 12 Acrylic…
  • Beginner Acrylic Tube Set – Each 12ml (.4oz) tube of highly pigmented, rich, smooth acrylic paint offers an affordable yet qualitative option perfectly suited for those just starting out

However, to be fair, I’d like to highlight some Pros:

  • They have soft consistency which is easier for beginners to deal with. However, I’ve had better “soft” paints.
  • VERY affordable price

Cons that I discovered during tests:

  • They are hard to get consistent coverage, which is frustrating no matter if you’re a beginner or a pro!
  • Opacity is weird, even though some colors are supposed to be opaque, All colors with one coat are mostly transparent. It means the composition is cheap, and the pigment load specifically is low.
  • 2 yellows have different names and are supposed to be different but act like just two identical paint colors.
  • Challenging to mix or blend, and if you try to mix new colors you easily get a muddy or dull color.
  • The worst thing is that they can come lumpy. Some colors, not one! came out of the tube with chunks.
  • I would consider it amateur quality, not even student-grade paints
  • Sealing tubes is great but if the end quality is lumpy or opening each seal creates a waste of paint or a mess – it is not worth it.
  • Generally, this paint is non-toxic but contains the Biocidal product BIT which can cause allergy. However, I have to say that many acrylics have that preservative in them.
  • I find it inconvenient when the color has a very generic name. For ex., Black or Brown. What kind of brown or black? There are so many shades of them. But it is also kind of understandable since it is an amateur paint.
  • No information about pigments or lightfastness on tubes.
  • Unlike the absolute majority of acrylics, they don’t dry to a nice shiny finish – they dry flat and feel like chalk. This tells me that they have it in their composition probably as a filler and pacifier but since all the paints are anyway transparent it doesn’t work!

With this being said, you can see how the cons overweight, so don’t buy Simply if you expect good quality student-grade paint.

Either buy System3 or invest a few more dollars to buy Winsor&Newton Galeria, Liquitex Basics, or Pebeo to start.

If you are more of a video person, you can watch my video review:

Limited Colors

The set I got comes with 12 colors following the primary colors, some secondary colors from the color wheel, and additional neutral colors.

In general, there are around 22 other colors in the series which I think is a very little range.

Daler Rowney Simply color swatch
Daler Rowney Simply color swatch

I got:

  1. White,
  2. Black,
  3. Light Brown,
  4. Brown,
  5. Scarlet,
  6. Magenta,
  7. Violet,
  8. Ultramarine,
  9. Medium Green,
  10. Dark Green,
  11. Medium Yellow,
  12. Deep Yellow,

I’d like to mention that I don’t see any serious difference between the two yellows in the set, a little bit visually, but not for mixing…

I’d rather have a lighter yellow.

All colors have a soft texture compared to the heavy texture of professional acrylic paint.

I’ve also compared just 2 colors with Reeves paints (as they have the same pricing and same quality)

daler rowney acrylic paint review vs reeves
Comparison of colors between Daler Rowney and Reeves acrylic

I believe that some colors are more opaque with Reeves, but overall the quality and coverage are pretty same. So you can conclude on the quality level if you ever used Reeves.

Of course, choice of the paint is a personal preference, but for me and other acrylic artists, these brands wouldn’t make the cut.

There is also no mention of actual pigments used for each color.

It makes sense, some cheaper brands don’t say it as beginners don’t really read this information or there is too much of a mix going on.

Most professional quality paints have a single pigment in them. Maximum a mix of 2-3 if it is a rare mixed color. Pro artists prefer it.


Single-pigment paint is often considered to be better than paint made with multiple pigments because it offers greater color purity and consistency.

When paint is made with multiple pigments, it can be difficult to control the color and achieve a consistent result, especially if the pigments have different properties or react differently with other materials in the paint.

Single-pigment paint also tends to have better lightfastness, as the pigments used are often more stable and less likely to fade over time.

Another advantage of single-pigment paint is that it allows for greater color mixing possibilities.

And all that makes sense if you see my tests with Simply set – they are definitely using lower pigment load and in general, lower quality pigments and thus I had issues with them.

Sealed Tubes

daler rowney acrylic paint review tubes
Small tube Daler Rowney Simply acrylic paint comes with

12 tubes of 12 ml (0.4 oz) each.

All tubes are made of soft metal, not as sturdy as other brands. They all come sealed which is great for shipping.

daler rowney acrylic paint review
Each of the Simply acrylics’ tube is sealed and you can open it with the lid

Many product reviews of Amazon say – Oh I received my paint and it leaked or the package was damaged. Here, at least the tubes are sealed and you don’t have unnecessary risks.

As it is an amateur paint, the label doesn’t say anything about pigment load or lightfastness or opacity.

Opacity test Failed

Tubes don’t have any information about opacity but the official website has an informative chart.

According to this chart, the 12 colors in my set are:

  1. White, opaque
  2. Black, opaque
  3. Light Brown, transparent
  4. Brown, semi-opaque
  5. Scarlet, semi-opaque
  6. Magenta, semi-opaque
  7. Violet, semi-opaque
  8. Ultramarine, transparent
  9. Medium Green, semi-opaque
  10. Dark Green, transparent
  11. Medium Yellow, transparent
  12. Deep Yellow, semi-opaque
Daler Rowney Acrylic Paint review opacity
The opacity test I made for Daler Rowney Simply acrylics – failed as none of the colors is actually opaque.

Based on my test I would say pretty much all colors except for black are quite transparent. White is more opaque only with 2+ coats.

It makes sense as the paint is very cheap and the pigment load is low, which makes it hard to make great opaque paints.

But I’m used to opaque acrylics, I would be able to fully use Daler Rowney Simply set for painting as I can’t really paint from dark to light as no light color will cover anything! How am I going to add small details?

The only trick you can use is to apply a layer of white over dark color to increase the opacity of the next, more translucent, color. But it means that your white will run out too quickly!

Unclear Lightfastness

daler rowney acrylic paint review
Daler Rowney Simply Acrylic paint

Daler Rowney has the following classification of lightfast paint:

  • 4 stars (****)- Permanent
  • 3 stars (***)- Normally permanent
  • 2 stars (**)- Moderately permanent
  • 1 star (*)- Fugitive

According to this, Simply acrylic paint has 3 stars meaning it is durable and lightfast. I take it as a fact, but testing the paint I would not be completely certain about its archival qualities.

Plus, the tube itself has no indication of lightfastness for each color.

Struggling with Application

daler rowney acrylic paint review application
Application tests with Daler Rowney Simply – multiple layers coverage, mixing, and blending.

Applying acrylic paints from the Simply set is quite challenging for me.

Being soft-bodied, even diluted with water they don’t really flow nicely on paper, and leave strokes (I know that brush doesn’t leave strokes with Winsor & Newton or even Pebeo paints).

While the box says you can use it with a palette knife or for pouring I wouldn’t. Using it with a brush is not 100% enjoyable so I won’t experiment.

Mixing and blending are rather challenging as well compared to how I can mix nice clean colors and do some blends with more expensive paints.

Mixing new colors somehow makes slightly muddy and dull new colors…

Poor Coverage and Lumpy Paints

Poor coverage in general, quite transparent even without adding much water.

To make the paint flow smoothly, I have to use more water than I normally use with acrylic paints that are heavier in body than Simply soft body acrylics.

As some paints are lumpy, lumps get on paper and of course, the final look won’t be nice.

Daler Rowney Acrylic Paint review lumpy paint
This Daler Rowney Scarlet red is dry and lumpy and mixing it with high quality acrylic medium didn’t help

Chalky Finish

Daler Rowney Acrylic Paint review finish
The finish of Daler Rowney acrylic

Once dry, Daler Rowney Simply acrylic colors have an almost flat, matte finish.

Feels a bit chalky to touch.

It seemed to me like colors were transparent while wet and dry were slightly more transparent!

Final thoughts

I’m not satisfied with Daler Rowney Simply acrylic paint set as to me it has an average quality similar to Reeves acrylics.

However, I did my very first painting with Reeves paints and it is doing alright till this day.

Yes, the paint may not be good for mastering brush strokes or painting techniques, but to have some fine – why not?

For more serious intentions, and if you are a Daler Rowney brand fan – choose System3 paints.

Otherwise, Winsor & Newton, Liquitex, and Golden my top choices. With Amsterdam or Pebeo being cheaper alternatives I also respect.

Last update on 2024-07-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API